Unconditional Service

By Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja

Try to adjust yourself through sound only, the subtle-most element of this plane. Through sound, go on cultivating spiritual life with a serving attitude. We are encouraged to approach divinity through the most subtle element of this gross world. Although it is apparently nothing to us at present, this divinity is actually everything.

Learn to give yourself, learn to die, to embrace so-called death at every second. Even in this world, we find the “do-or-die” attitude in ambitious politicians, social workers, etc. In every duty and at every step they are ready to sacrifice their lives for the cause. If one embraces that “do-or-die principle of life,” he is sure to progress very intensely and become a great success.

Service means self-giving, self-dedication, and this should be our attitude to approach that plane. In that way, all the coatings of ego will vanish one by one, and the genuine self will come from within. So many coverings are deviating us in different directions, taking us far, far away from our svarupa, our real noble self–a servant in the highest plane of the whole. The Beautiful is playing, dancing in His own sweetness and affection, and we can reach Him, following such a course of “do-or-die” at every moment.

Through self-giving, I can acquire my fortune, and not as a master sitting in my chair gathering information from different quarters to utilize for my selfish plans. Adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sanga atha bhajana-kriya (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, 1.4.15): to progress with faith, keeping the association of devotees and dedicating one’s activities to the Lord, means this you must go forward in your life with the spirit that you are willing to give away this life. Do-or-die is, of course, not in the physical sense but the internal sense (bhajana-kriya). This is self-giving, ego-giving.

Tato anartha-nivrtth syat: if you can adopt this, the undesirable things within you will disappear very easily and swiftly. Tato nistha: then you will find a continuous connection with such a principle in your life. That principle will always act continuously, and other fleeting, mean desires won’t be able to approach or touch you. Next, you will find ruci, a real taste for divinity. Otherwise, before that continuous stage, whatever taste we may think we have is only treachery and not real taste. Nistha nairantarya: when we are established in twenty-four hours a day continuous connection with that charming substance, a real taste will arise, and we can rely on that taste. Any taste that we may find in any other position is unreliable. Twenty-four hours a day connection with divinity eliminating all other charms of this world is necessary. Then, the ruci, the conscious taste that arises in us, is a reliable guide.

After that, asakti, natural affinity, arises, and then the symptoms of bhava, the bud stage of the flower of prema, divine love, makes its appearance. This is the way of our progress. But if there is any imitation, only offenses will be created. Those offenses will be recorded in that circle of the examiners of the upper quarter, and they will give a stamp of disqualification that we are criminal and unfit. This will go against us and hamper our future progress. Thus, we must be very careful not to commit offense, aparadha. It is better to be a newcomer with a new introduction than to have a criminal record, for that will go against us. We must be very, very careful in our quest for the highest objective of our eternal life. This caution has been especially given by our Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakura, and he attracted us to the line of exclusive devotion.

Sevonmukhe, serving attitude was foremost. Our Guru Maharaja did not allow us to read much, even of the lower types of scriptures dealing with general sadhana or practices, not to speak of the higher books. Rather, we were expected to actually follow those practices by hearing from the proper source and practicing accordingly whatever was instructed from there. Learn to give yourself properly. There are different methods of service: sravana, hearing; kirtana, chanting; smarana, remembering; vandana, praying, etc. Srila Rupa Goswami has mentioned sixty-four kinds of devotional practices, and it has also been further mentioned that there are one thousand types of devotional practices. The practices themselves are not very important; but the very life of the practice is all-important, for this is self-dedication. Thus we should be very particular to learn that dedication is work under a Vaisnava.


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